Whether your company is looking to focus on turnaround time, improve the comprehensiveness of background checks, or incorporate new technology, fingerprinting services can be a practical addition to your screening program. Fingerprint-based criminal history checks (CHRI) compare an individual’s prints against State and FBI criminal database records. Unlike name-based checks, these searches typically include arrest and conviction information.
Fingerprint background checks compare the applicant’s prints to existing records in databases like the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. This helps to reduce false positives since fingerprints are unique to the individual. However, a fingerprint background check should never be relied upon exclusively. A full criminal background check includes a social security number scan to trace addresses and movement patterns, alias names, date of birth, and a nationwide search of state, county, and federal records. These searches can help identify a candidate’s criminal history, including arrests and pending charges that may not appear on a fingerprint background check. In addition, a full background check also includes sex offender and sexual predator database searches as well as global security watch list checks. This ensures that all known records are uncovered so employers can make the most informed hiring decisions. Many industries like child care, law enforcement, and financial services require employees to undergo fingerprint background checks to meet strict safety standards. In these instances, the goal is to prevent and solve crimes committed by employees.
Many industries require employees to pass a fingerprint criminal background check, including professional licensing (engineers, doctors, stockbrokers), financial services, and long-term care. Running a fingerprint check as part of the onboarding process helps employers avoid barriers to employment and demonstrate they take employee safety seriously. Fingerprint-based checks rely on the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) to locate records for candidates. The IAFIS database contains millions of records, so the results can be difficult to interpret accurately. If an employer uses inaccurate data when hiring, it could create legal risks for the company and put its customers at risk. Data privacy laws, hiring regulations, and paperwork requirements vary by country, so working with an experienced partner is essential to ensure a seamless experience. A CRA that provides global capabilities also allows for quick turnaround times, even in countries where submitting fingerprints requires more manual processes. Lastly, partnering with a provider that offers LiveScan, the most accurate fingerprinting method, eliminates rejection rates caused by poor technique or image quality.
With the advent of advanced technology, background screening companies can reduce the need for manual research. Automation technologies work by “scraping” court websites for criminal conviction and sentencing information, pending cases, and other pertinent data. This saves workforce and resources while delivering superior results comparable to manual searches. In addition, fingerprint search capabilities connect to the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). This allows police agencies to access information quicker than using traditional name-based searches. The result is more remarkable accuracy and more complete crime history data. Regulatory compliance management is another benefit of working with these companies. They help businesses comply with federal and state regulations for hiring employees in key industries like transportation, education, healthcare, and hospitality. Many organizations depend on background verifications for their contractors and third-party workers.
Unlike name-based searches, which applicants can easily falsify, fingerprinting results aren’t. This makes it challenging to hide criminal convictions in the system and gives you access to a more complete, accurate search.
Electronic Livescan fingerprinting is efficient and fast so you can get results much sooner than traditional vetting methods. Sometimes, the difference can be weeks, making a big difference when you’re looking to hire quickly and fill an important role. Unlike other background checks, which a third party typically handles, a fingerprint check requires the candidate to participate actively. This usually means visiting the local police department and having their fingerprints scanned. This information is then passed on to the vetting company, who can use it to compile the background report. The result is more comprehensive and detailed, significant in regulated industries like childcare, senior care, and organizations serving vulnerable populations. An adjudication process can also help you ensure that your employees are screened consistently and that your company’s hiring guidelines are applied evenly.
Fingerprint background checks are a vital component of the vetting process for various applications. They are often mandated for positions requiring security clearance, jobs directly accessing vulnerable individuals (like healthcare), and other critical sectors. Since fingerprints belong uniquely to one individual (even identical twins have different prints), fingerprints provide more reliable results than a traditional name-based check.
However, fingerprint background checks only sometimes provide thorough findings. For instance, an Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) fingerprint check may not include all information on an applicant’s arrest records and dispositions. This can have serious legal ramifications for employers because it could lead to disparate impact discrimination against groups that are disproportionately affected by arrests and convictions.
Additionally, fingerprint background checks are rife with errors due to the fractured nature of the criminal justice system. Law enforcement officers spend most of their time catching bad guys and only sometimes have the resources to record and submit information to the IAFIS database meticulously. This can lead to incomplete or inaccurate screening reports, putting your employees at risk of safety threats and exposing you to costly legal liability.